Legendary NBA star Darryl Dawkins died Thursday from a heart attack in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at the age of 58, TMZ reported. He was pronounced dead at 11:19 a.m. EDT.
Dawkins was a trailblazer known for his powerful dunks. He was the first player to enter the league out of high school, in 1975.
In remembrance of Dawkins, who had a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters, NBA.com put together a 4-minute compilation of the star’s top 20 slam dunks. Click here to watch them.
Dawkins dunked with such force he shattered two backboards in 1979. A clip on YouTube that shows both moments has nearly 700,000 views.
His family issued a statement after his sudden death. “Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart,” the family said in a statement, according to the New York Post.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 27, 2015
The message continued: “His family, wife Janice, children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis, along with countless family, friends, and fans, all mourn his loss. More than anything Darryl accomplished in his basketball career as the inimitable ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ he was most proud of his role and responsibility as a husband and father. We ask that the public please respect our privacy as we grieve his loss.”
Dawkins, who was nicknamed “Chocolate Thunder” by Stevie Wonder, played in the NBA for 15 years. He spent most of his professional career with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets).
The Nets also issued a statement. “Following his playing career, Darryl remained a part of the Nets and NBA family by serving as an ambassador and sharing his love of the game with countless fans,” the team said. “He had an amazing personality and touched everyone in a positive way. ... He will be deeply missed.”
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